9 Best Gifts for Graduates

Nothing says 'Congrats' like cold hard cash

big bucks  one hundred american ...
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According to The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 1,606,000 students will earn their bachelor's degree in 2014. Chances are you might know someone who recently received their diploma. If you're unsure of what to give a recent college graduate, I've put together nine gift ideas every graduate could appreciate.

Show me the money. Nothing says "Congrats" like cold hard cash. Seriously though, you can never go wrong with money. Recent graduates are commonly low on savings and would rather have money than another tech gadget.

Noise canceling headphones. Whether they're commuting to the office, running to job interviews or tuning out a loud co-worker, noise canceling headphones are essential to staying focused. Your first few months on the job can be tough. It's hard to get used to working on your own while blocking out another person's conference call, a metro announcement or a meeting in another cube.

Wardrobe styling session. Having a stylist might sound like a luxury but it isn't. It's an investment. Plenty of traditional stores like Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale's or even J. Crew have an in-store stylist for no extra cost. Most graduates have no idea what a work wardrobe should look like or how career outfits should fit their bodies. Having a stylist's experience and expertise will help make sure they pick a chic professional wardrobe that will help them blend into the working world.

Luggage. When you start your first job, you never know when you'll get called on a business trip. A hiking backpack and a polka dot print roller will not do. A classic black four-wheel, durable carry-on roller is something every professional needs. A briefcase and a classic handbag also enhance a new graduate's style as they take on the job market.

Personalized stationery. In a world of ever-changing technology, there's nothing more traditional and personal than receiving a handwritten note. Stationery is essential for graduation gift thank you notes but also for job interview follow-up letters. Minted has great template options to choose from.

Business cards. New graduates will be tossed into the job market meeting new people, leveraging connections and entering conferences and job fairs. While they might not be employed yet – creating a professional business card with their contact information will help express their professionalism in the space. VistaPrint and TinyPrints are all great options. A business card holder is also helpful for those cards to stay clean and crisp while you're passing them out.

Watch. If you want to spend a bit extra on your graduate – get them a classic timepiece. Not only will it be their go-to accessory when applying for jobs – they'll keep it for years. Watches are timeless. They symbolize hard work and growth.

Inspirational book. Send your graduate a copy of your favorite book that helped (or still helps) motivate you. There are many popular career related books like Lean In for Graduates, The Confidence Code, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or I Just Graduated...Now What. Another classic is Dr. Seuss's Oh the Places You'll Go.

Gift cards. Maybe the thought of giving just money is too impersonal. Instead, choose a generic American Express gift card for your graduate to spend on items he or she needs. You'll be covering your bases getting them something they can actually use on items you might not even know they need.

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